Truepill, a digital pharmacy that enables health care organizations to deliver prescriptions directly to customers’ doors, has raised $25 million in a series B round of funding.
The U.S. prescription drug market is worth $400 billion, and there has been a concerted push to “digitize” it, as with many other sectors. Amazon entered the pharmaceutical sphere in a big way back in 2018 when it snapped up online pharmacy PillPack, but Truepill is taking a different approach with a largely business-to-business (B2B) offering.
Founded in 2016, Truepill offers a number of services for pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance providers, and health brands, including pharmacy fulfillment that delivers medication to patients’ homes. Its suite of APIs serve up “programmatic” access to its online pharmacy, with brands able to customize the packaging themselves. Truepill operates five pharmacies across the U.S., two in California and one each in New York, Washington, and Texas, as well as a U.K. pharmacy in Manchester. The company said it plans to open in more locations “soon.”
Truepill had previously raised $13.4 million, and with another $25 million in the bank it’s now well financed to expand into new areas — including telehealth. Alongside today’s funding announcement, the company launched Truepill Health, which will connect 9,000 U.S. physicians with patients through real-time video.
“We are now able to provide customers with access to a U.S-based network of licensed providers who can diagnose, treat, and prescribe across 50 states,” Truepill cofounder and CEO Umar Afridi told VentureBeat. “In talking to our customers, the need for an integrated telehealth solution was clear. Customers would say, ‘we’re ready for you to fill our prescriptions — now we just need to get our physician network in place.’ The delay could go on for months as they navigated the complexity involved in setting up their network. Truepill Health was a natural evolution for us, combining our flexible pharmacy infrastructure and API-connected technology with a provider network.”
The company also built an electronic medical record (EMR) system with telehealth in mind to “ensure a seamless experience,” as Afridi put it.
The latest round of funding, which includes investment from TI Platform Fund, Optum Ventures, Initialized Capital, and Sound Ventures, was already in the works before the COVID-19 crisis unfolded. However, the financing has proved crucial as Truepill scrambles to meet the growing demand for its services during the pandemic.
“The funding has been essential in helping us scale our infrastructure and meet the surge in demand that we’ve seen due to COVID-19,” Afridi explained. “To quantify, the last three months we’ve seen record volume in prescriptions filled, with each month better than the last.”
In a rare disclosure of finances for a young private company, Afridi said he’s projecting around $200 million in revenue this year, roughly double the figure from 2019.
While many industries have suffered during the pandemic, businesses that enable society to function “remotely” are flourishing, and telemedicine is no exception.
In March, when much of the world started going into lockdown, virtual health consultations grew by 50%, according to Frost and Sullivan. General online medical visits are on course to hit 200 million this year — up from the 36 million anticipated before COVID-19. In response, a slew of telehealth startups have secured sizable investments over the past few months. Medici, which is essentially a WhatsApp for remote medical care, has raised $24 million. And Tyto Care raised $50 million to grow its telehealth examination and diagnostic platform.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently said COVID-19 had pushed his company to complete two years’ worth of digital transformation in just two months, but this acceleration has been even more pronounced for Truepill, according to Afridi.
“COVID catapulted the health care industry into the future,” he said. “The changes we’ve seen around telehealth over the last three months would have taken five to 10 years otherwise.”